Launch of Ixpe mission of Nasa and Asi, new window on the Universe

He will study the extreme phenomena of the Cosmos, an Italian ‘heart’ beats inside the satellite. President Asi Saccoccia: “We are very proud”

Successfully launched the Ixpe mission who sees once again together there
NASA and the Italian Space Agency
. There is a lot of Italian science aboard the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer satellite born from exclusive collaboration between NASA and ASI and who has the goal of study the extreme phenomena of the Universe. Ixpe took off punctually this morning at 7.00 Italian time from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. A Falcon 9 carrier from the private company SpaceX was used for the launch. The launch was attended by the president of ASI, Giorgio Saccoccia and the administrator of NASA, Bill Nelson. “We are particularly proud to have been able to deliver Ixpe’s innovative scientific equipment on time, despite the challenge of the pandemic” and all this is “a true demonstration of the excellence of the Italian mission team” underlined the president of the Italian Space Agency, Giorgio Saccoccia. “Now the word goes to science, to new discoveries made possible by our country’s space commitment”, the president of ASI said. which witnessed the launch at the US space base. “NASA and the Italian Space Agency, the United States and Italy have a long tradition of bilateral cooperation on successful space missions and the mission Ixpe represents another virtuous example of the Italian ability to work with international partners for the growth of space activities on a global level “Saccoccia recalled.

Ixpe will open a new window on astrophysics and the cosmos and is the first mission entirely dedicated to the study of the universe through the polarization of X-rays: to do so it will use an all-Italian technology. In fact, on board the Polarimetry Explorer satellite Imaging X-ray they are installed 3 telescopes with detectors financed by ASI and developed by a team of scientists from the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (Infn) and the National Institute of Astrophysics (Inaf). The ASI explains that the ‘heart’ of the telescopes aboard Ixpe is represented by the three Gas Pixel Detectors: new generation detectors that exploit a technology developed over the past 15 years and which makes use of the skills acquired by the Infn in the field of particle physics and by the INAF in the study of the Universe in High Energy. Thanks to its innovative technology, Ixpe will be able to measure not only the image and energy of celestial sources but will also be able to obtain, for the first time, direct indications on the characteristics of the electromagnetic fields associated with them. “Ixpe will observe the universe in a new light, in the true sense of the word, and what will allow it to do so is its innovative all-Italian technological ‘heart’, the result of a long and important research and development work carried out entirely in house. in our laboratories of the Infn Sections of Pisa and Turin “underlined Antonio Zoccoli, president of Infn. “We must be proud of the start of this mission, even more so in the difficult contingency in which we worked to complete the work within the schedule: I would therefore also like to thank all those who have allowed it, “commented the president of the National Institute of Nuclear Physics. .

Also applauded by INAF for the success of the launch and the start of the Ixpe mission. “The Ixpe mission in collaboration with NASA represents a fundamental one goal that enhances the great tradition of Italian astrophysics in the study of the Universe with X and gamma rays as already happened with the space missions BeppoSax, Agile and participation in Fermi “was the picture outlined by president of the National Institute of Astrophysics, Marco Tavani, on the occasion of the successful launch of the ASI and NASA mission of the Ixpe satellite. “The high-energy astrophysics community had been waiting for an X-polarimetry instrument for decades. Now Italy is realizing the heart of the Ixpe mission and it will be exciting to see the first results: a long-awaited moment that we are sure will not disappoint expectations “added Tavani.

Ixpe was born from the exclusive collaboration between NASA and ASI and the Italian Space Agency explains that the satellite was placed on a circular equatorial orbit at about 600 kilometers of altitude with an inclination of only 0.2 degrees. During the first two years of the mission, Ixpe will open a new astrophysics ‘window’ by carrying out highly sensitive polarization measurements from celestial sources emitting in X-rays for the first time. The main targets of the mission will be active galactic nuclei (Agn), microquasars, pulsars and pulsars wind nebulae, magnetars, binaries in X-rays, supernova remnants and galactic center. Ixpe will provide contemporary measurements of polarization, variability, spectral and images, thus allowing to study the geometry and physical processes of radiation emission and acceleration of particles, in environments with extreme magnetic and gravitational fields. Ixpe is a joint NASA-ASI mission, selected by NASA on January 3, 2017 and which is part of the Smex-Small Mission Explorer space program. Thanks to the contribution of the industrial component Ohb-I, ASI was able to deliver the flight models to NASA within the established times, as required by participation in the Smex space programs. Finally, the ASI reminds that the Agency, in addition to managing the Italian participation in the Ixpe program, provides the Malindi base in Kenya as a primary ground station for satellite tracking also supported by Telespazio
and the Space Science Data Center (Ssdc) at the headquarters of the Agency in Rome for the activities of scientific data processing and analysis.